97 Free Online Tools to Help you Grow Your Business

 

Having the right tools at your disposal will make a big difference to the success of your new business. And as a new business owner you’re probably doing your best to keep costs down without scrimping on quality, which is why you are going to love this fantastic list of free online tools for businesses.

 

Business Planning

Here are a few key tools to help you with some of the logistics of opening and running a new business.

 

  1. Wordoid– Need a good name for your business or product? Wordoid will help you come up with a unique made-up word just for you.
  1. Naminum– If you have a keyword in mind for your new business name, plug it into this tool and it will provide you with a list of potential business names using that word.
  1. Knowem – Before finalizing a name for your business or product, it’s a good idea to check the availability of a matching domain name as well as available social media handles. With Knowem you can check over 575 social media platforms, blogging sites and bookmarking sites to ensure that your brand name is available.
  1. Logaster– Once you’ve settled on a name for your business you’ll need a logo. Don’t have the budget to hire a designer? Then create one yourself for free with Logaster.
  1. Enloop– If you’ve never created a business plan before, visit Enloop to make a free professional looking business plan with 3-year financial forecast reporting.
  1. AngelList– A great resource for seeking investors for your business or hiring your first employees.

 

Accounting

This might be one of the drier aspects of running a business, but having good accounting tools in place is an important step you’ll want to take as a new business owner.

 

  1. Wave– This free cloud based accounting software is a good solution for small businesses with a small budget. Create and send invoices, set up direct deposits for your employees and easily keep track of your transactions.
  1. Zenefits– Manage your business’s HR needs, including benefits, compliance and payroll, with this cloud-based software platform.
  1. Free Invoice Generator: Quickly whip up invoices with the Free Invoice Generator, which provides easy-to-use templates for you to fill out.

 

Website Tools

Every business needs a website and you want to make sure that yours runs smoothly and provides your visitors with everything they hope to find.

 

  1. WordPress – Every business needs a website and with WordPress you can easily get your own website up and running in no time. There are hundreds of free customizable themes to choose from as well as many plugins that will extend your theme’s current functionality.  
  1. Super Simple FAQ – A good FAQ page is essential for every website but creating them can be a bit complicated. With the Super Simple FAQ you can easily make a great looking FAQ page, for free, for up to ten questions.
  1. Google PageSpeed Insights – Check how fast your website is on desktops and mobile by running it through this tool. You’ll also receive a list of suggestions of other areas on your website to improve
  1. Yoast SEO – Before hitting publish check your Yoast results to ensure your content is optimized for SEO.
  1. Button Optimizer –  One of the most important elements of your website is the Call to Action, because that’s what convert your website visitors into paying customers. With Button Optimizer you can easily create custom CTA buttons that will help you improve your conversion rates.
  1. StartSSL – Free SSL certificates.
  1. Peek– Improve your website by receiving feedback from real users who will give your site a test drive and let you know what they think.

Email 

You probably spend a significant amount of time each day checking and responding to emails. With the right tools, you can save some of that time and put it to better use.

 

  1. Boomerang –  Write your emails now and have them go out later. This is a particularly handy tool for anyone that regularly sends out emails to people in different time zones, as it allows you to schedule your emails to be received when your recipients are most likely to be online.
  1. WiseStamp – Make the most of that valuable real estate at the bottom of your emails by including a professional-looking email signature.  With a WiseStamp signature all of your important contact information and social profiles will be easily accessible to your recipients and every email you send becomes a marketing opportunity.
  1. Cloze – If your Gmail account is as chaotic as mine, you’re going to love Cloze. Information about your email contacts is gathered from all of your social accounts and aggregated into the platform. Cloze then ranks your contacts based on their importance to you and will prioritize messages from those whom you have the strongest relationship with.

     By clicking on each contact you can also see your history of exchanges with them in a sidebar. Cloze can be used as a CRM tool for a freelancer or just as a personal organizational system.

  1. Rapportive – Click on an email address in your inbox and that person’s contact details and social connections will appear in the sidebar. This is a very handy tool for verifying (or guessing) email addresses. If the person’s contact information shows up then you know you’ve got the right email.
  1. SaneBox – Instead of spending your valuable time sifting through emails and deleting irrelevant notifications, let this tool do if for you. SaneBox uses filters to organize your inbox, learning your preferences over time.
  1. Sidekick – Get real-time notifications when emails that you send are opened by the recipient.
  1. Streak – Manage your contacts, projects and messages right from your inbox with this free CRM tool. Streak also allows you to schedule emails for a later time and informs you when an email that you sent is opened and read.
  1. Unroll.me – Clean up your inbox by unsubscribing from all the email lists that you never read, with a single click. Unroll.me then combines all of the subscriptions that you do read into a single daily email.

 
Customer Engagement

A successful business is dependent on happy, satisfied customers. These tools will help you in engaging your customers and community members, and turning them into loyal fans.

 

  1. Typeform – Easily create online forms and surveys that will engage your customers and encourage them to complete your questionnaire so that you can better assist them.
  1. TinyLetter – Newsletters are a fantastic way to keep your email connections updated on your business’s developments and news, and to just keep in touch. With TinyLetter creating and mailing out a newsletter is a simple process that can be done right on your device.
  1. Sumo – Encourage your blog or website visitors to share your articles with SumoMe’s social sharing buttons. They also offer tools that will  help you understand what parts of your websites are engaging visitors and how to get more traffic.
  1. LiveChat 24/7 – Communicate with your customers in real-time and build an automatic knowledge base that will assist your users when you’re not available.
  1. Helprace – Provide your website visitors with customer support by managing messages,answering questions and directing them to helpful articles in your knowledge base.

 

Project & Team Management 

Good project management tools are essential for anyone that runs a team, and doubly so if you have team members in different locations. These tools should cover all your bases.

 

  1. Slack – For anyone that manages a team of remote employees, Slack is a fantastic solution for clear, real-time communication that keeps everyone in the loop and helps project development move forward more smoothly. (We’re big Slack fans at WiseStamp)
  1. Quip – An easy to use word processing app that’s designed for mobile devices and makes it simple for team members to work on the same document from anywhere in the world.
  1. Todoist – Manage projects and keep track of tasks with this detailed to-do lists that you can access from any device. Use it to create lists, assign due dates and share tasks with others.
  1. Trello – This tool is another WiseStamp favorite. Trello’s design is similar to a whiteboard with post-it notes, which make it easy to get a quick visual overview of all tasks within a project and their current status. Our development team uses it to keep track of bugs and our content team uses Trello to map out our monthly content writing schedule.
  1.  Asana – Manage your projects by using Asana to assign tasks to your team members and track their progress. Related links and discussions can be shared within Asana as well so that all aspects of the project are centralized and can easily be tracked. Asana is free for teams of 15 people or less.

 

Productivity 

Save valuable hours each day by streamlining your tasks and having the right productivity tools on hand to make your job easier.

 

  1. Google Keep – Take quick notes on the go and have them waiting for you when you next log in to your computer, or any other device. Google Keep can also be used to create lists, transcribe images to text, record voice memos and to set reminders.
  1. Freedom – Sometimes the Internet can be a distraction that keep you from getting work done. Freedom puts a stop to this by blocking particular websites or apps, or even disabling your Internet completely.
  1. Hello Sign – If you have documents that needs signing, Hello Sign is the way to go. Send your documents through Hello Sign and they can be filled out and signed right from your recipient’s inbox.  Once the document is signed everyone receives a copy by email.
  1. HubSpot CRM – This free CRM tool will makes it easy for your salespeople to keep track of all their interactions by logging emails, recording calls and managing their data.
  1. IFTTT (If This Then That) – Automate your important day-to-day tasks by creating “recipes” that link together your favorite tools and triggers certain actions based on the occurrence of specific events.
  1. Jing – For all of your screenshot needs. It’s quick to use and allows you to add text, arrows and highlights to your screenshot image.  
  1. Dashlane – For keeping track of all your passwords
  1. Coggle – Organize your thoughts and develop your ideas with this easy-to-use mind mapping tool. With the free plan you have unlimited access to diagrams and the ability to collaborate with others in real time.
  1. Doodle – The next time you want to schedule a meeting, instead of spending hours trying to coordinate a convenient date for all participants, send everyone a Doodle invite. All meeting attendees can then vote on their preferred date and time, leaving you free to work on more important things.
  1. One Tab – When you have so many tabs open that you keep losing track of which one you’re working on, click OneTab to consolidate all the tabs into a single list. This one’s a Chrome app.
  1. Pocket – This is the place to save all of those interesting articles that you come across during the day but don’t have time to read. When you do have a bit of free time (when waiting in line at the bank or during your commute) you can just pull an article out of your pocket.

 

Digital Marketing 

 

Content Curation

For me, each day begins by browsing through my favorite content curation sites and tools in search of interesting articles to share with our social  media followers. 

 

  1. Feedly – This popular RSS reader allows you to read articles from your favorite blogs and websites in one place, for easy reading and content curation.
  1. Feedspot – This RSS feed reader not only allows you to add your favorite websites but it also makes it easy to discover new content by topic. For example, you can choose to subscribe to Entrepreneur or Leadership blogs and you will view the RSS feeds for relevent blogs in these categories. It also has an option to add RSS feeds for individual Reddit subreddits.
  1. Buzzsumo –  See which articles have been most widely shared on social media, as well as which articles are currently trending. With this information, you can get ideas for what content to write and share by seeing what articles have been well received in the past and what topics are currently popular.
  1. Scoop.it – Visit Scoop.it to discover which articles are being shared and “scooped,” and search within relevent categories for intresting content to share with your social followers.  
  1. AllTop – Get a quick view of the trending articles on a selection of popular websites.Search by website or topic and you’ll find get a list of trending articles that you can share with your own social media followers.

 

Content Creation

The process of creating a good piece of content begins several steps before the first words hit the page.

 

  1. Answer the public – This is a really cool keyword search tool that helps you get a deeper insight into what people are searching for by providing questions, sentences and alphabetical lists related to your keyword.
  1. CoSchedule headline analyzer – Before you settle on a headline for your blog post, type it into the CoSchedule headline analyzer to see how likely it is to succeed in bringing in social shares and traffic.
  1. Portent – Need an idea for a blog post? Just type in a subject and Portent will provide you with a topic to write about. If you don’t love the first suggestion offered just keep refreshing and you’re bound to get something good soon.
  1. Hubspot Blog Topic Generator – Get a whole week’s worth of blog topics with the HubSpot Topic Generator. Input three nouns and get five great topics to write about.
  1. SEMrush – Find out what keywords your competitors are ranking for so that you can decide what keywords to purse on your website or blog.
  1. Grammarly – Afraid of sending out an email or publishing content with an embarrassing grammatical error? The Grammarly grammar checking tool, which functions as a Chrome extension or desktop application, checks for errors in your emails and documents while explaining the reasoning behind each correction.

 

Design

You’ve written a fantastic article but if you want it to get noticed you’re going to need an eye-catching image to go with it. These tools will help you in creating those images, even if you have no experience in design.

 

  1. Canva – Create professional, branded, eye-catching images for your blog and social media accounts with Canva. With a variety of fonts, templates and built-in designs, Canva is one of the most intuitive design tools out there.
  1. Desygner – This is a new design tool that’s similar to Canva but offers some additional options, such as the ability to resize a single image for different social media sites (a feature that’s  only available with Canva’s paid plan).It also offer a nice variety of templates and the ability to search for usable photos from within the tool.
  1. Pablo – If you need to design an image quickly then Pablo is the tool for you. It’s particularly handy for whipping up a shareable quote. Just pick a background image, insert your text, choose an effect and you’re good to go.
  1. Death to the Stock Photo – Receive high-quality photos in your inbox every month for free.  
  1. UnSplash –  This is my go-to site when I need a photo for an image that I’m designing. The site is full of beautiful photographs contributed by talented artists, all available for free.
  1. StockSnap – Another great source for free, high-quality stock photos.
  1. imgflip – Everyone loves a good meme and here you can easily create your own.
  1. Eye Dropper – Identify any color in your browser using the Chrome Eye Dropper. I use this one all of the time when creating images for blog posts.
  1. Pixlr editor – Edit your images online with Pixlr, which provides editing, cropping, and design tools, as well as an express option that make editing images particularly simple for beginner designers.
  1. Piktochart – Anyone can create beautiful,information-rich infographics with this easy-to-use tool.

 

Video editors

This is the year of video marketing so you’re going to want a couple of good video editing tools in your arsenal.

  1. Avidemux– A free online video editor that will meet your basic cutting, filtering and encoding needs.
  1. Windows Movie Maker– A simple video editing software from Windows that makes it easy to combine your clips into digital movies with various effects and transitions.  

 

Ad Generators

Need help creating those social media ads?

 

  1. Ad Parlor – See exactly what your ads will look like by generating mockups for campaigns on Facebook or Twitter.  
  1. Banner Ads Creator – This tool will walk you through creating ads for YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Create new ads in just minutes.

 

Social media marketing

Manage your social media automation, distribution and marketing with these top tools.

 

  1. Buffer – I love Buffer for scheduling my Twitter posts. Using their suggested optimal times, I just pick how many times a day I want to tweet and then fill in those slots. Buffer can also be used to schedule your posts to Pinterest, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. Though the analytics for the free plan are very basic.
  1. Hootsuite – With the Hootsuite Dashboard you can track all of your activities on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Linkedin and Instagram (choose 3 for a free account), as well as monitor any conversations that take place about your business or brand. Hootsuite can also be used to schedule posts to social media but it’s the monitoring tools that I find particularly helpful.
  1. Crowdfire – Crowdfire helps you manage your Twitter and Instagram accounts by clearly displaying lists of your fans (followers), friends (mutual followers), non-followers and recent unfollows. There is also an option to view all of the people you are following who are inactive, so that you can decide if you want to unfollow them.
  1. RiteTag.com – Find out which Twitter hashtags are trending at any given time and view the analytics for each one. This information will help you decide if you should participate in the conversation, and what type of post you should create. RiteTag also provides suggestions for related hashtags that you might want to use and which hashtags you should avoid.
  1. Tweepi – This is another tool that allows you to view your Twitter connections but what I like about it is that you can use it to view all of the people that are being followed by any individual Twitter user. So if there is someone that you look up to and you want to follow everyone that they are following on Twitter, Tweepi makes this easy to do
  1. Latergram – This tool will help you schedule posts to Instagram from your PC or mobile device. Upload your image and text to Latergram and at the scheduled time you will receive a notification that your image is ready to be shared.
  1. Email Hunter – Find all email addresses related to a particular website, or verify an email address with a single click on Email Hunter.
  1. Contest Capture – For running Facebook contests and keeping track of entries via Likes and comments.
  1. Quuu – A new social media tool which schedules a selection of hand-picked tweets for you to share each day  (two, if you’re in the free plan), based on your selected preferences.
  1. Bitly –  This well-known link management tool not only allows you to shorten overly-long or messy links but you can also use it to create branded URLs and track the statistics of all your links to see how they are doing over time.
  1. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – This is an online service intended to help put journalists in touch with people that have expertise or experience relevant to their interests. Business owners and marketers can also use this service to get media coverage, by signing up for the daily emails of source requests.

     If you receive a request that’s related to your industry you can respond with a pitch, with the goal of having the journalist reach out to you.

  1. Click To Tweet – Make your blog posts more shareable by generating tweetable links from your content. Pick a quote or an informative statement and make it tweetable with Click to Tweet.
  1. How Many Shares – Found out how many social shares any blog post or article has received by pasting in the URL.
  1. Start a Fire –  Add a  personalized badge to every piece of content that you share that includes a call to action, a link to your recent blog post or even a link to your Twitter account. Similar to Sniply, but completely free.
  1. Sumo – Grow your website traffic with SumoMe’s social sharing buttons and email opt-in forms.

 

Brand monitoring

You want to know what people are saying about you online, and these tools will help you keep your ear to the ground.

 

  1. Google Alerts – Monitor the Internet for mentions of your business, product or brand by choosing keywords that you want to be alerted about. You will then receive a notification when those keywords are mentioned. Though recent changes to Google Alert have led to fewer alerts being received.
  1. Mention – A more robust monitoring tool than Google Alerts, Mention will notify you every time your selected keywords are mentioned anywhere on the Internet, including in forums, blog comments or open Facebook pages. Their free plan will allow you 1 keyword alert and 250 mentions.
  1. Talkwalker – Another branding tool that will send you notifications when your keywords are mentioned on the web. While I receive fewer notifications from Talkwalker than I do from Mention, I do sometimes get notified of conversations that Mention has not caught.
  1. BrandYourself – Make sure that when someone googles you or your business they will only find positive reviews and information. With a free account, you can submit 3 links of your choice that will receive help getting boosted.

 

Analytics

You’ve worked hard to get your business and brand noticed on the Internet and now you want to know which of your activities have actually produced results. For that you need a good analytics tool under your belt.

 

  1. Google Analytics – Analyze your website traffic and get a full understanding of who your visitors are, where they are coming from and what their needs are.
  1. StatCounter – This was actually the first analytics tool I ever used, back in my day as a blogger. It’s still around and has a couple of advantages over Google analytics, such as automatic tracking of links that are clicked on within a post, the ability to track IP addresses in real-time  and a lot of other activity data. StatCounter’s simplicity might also appeal to those who find Google Analytics a little overwhelming.

 

Level up your knowledge and skills

“The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss

 

  1. Codecademy – If you’d like to get more involved in the design and creation of your company’s website and apps, Codecademy is the perfect place to start. Codecademy offers self-paced, step-by-step, coding courses in a variety of programming languages.
  1. Google Primer – Whenever you have a few spare moments you can learn some new marketing skills in bite-size lessons through this Google app.
  1. Khan Academy – Take courses in math, science, computer programming, history, art, economics, or any of the other many subjects available for free at this online university.
  1. edX – Free online courses from the world’s best universities.
  1. Charge What you’re worth – A 9-day course that will help you decide on how much to charge for your services.
  1. Free Code Camp – Learn how to code through self-paced coding challenges. Build projects and earn certificates along the way.Once you finish three certifications you will work on building apps for nonprofits.

 

I hope this list has helped you discover some new tools for growing your business.

If you have any favorite tools of your own that I didn’t mention here, I’d love for you to tell me about them in the comments.

 

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Written by Simcha Lazarus
Simcha is WiseStamp’s Content and Community Coordinator. She’s a social media enthusiast who loves teaching people how to grow their business online. When she’s not tweeting, liking, connecting, pinning or redditing, she’s probably reading a book.

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  • Sharon Thomson

    Great list. I’d like to add ProofHub for project and team management. With ProofHub, your projects, teams, clients and all the communication stays in one place without the need of investing in too many different tools to run your business. This makes it easy to create plans, collaborate with teams and clients, keep things organized and deliver projects on time.

  • namwham

    Thanks for the info! I use proofyio and can’t recommend it more highly

  • Boston Mike

    I absolutely love free Bitrix24. CRM+Project management in one. If you plan on writing a new list, check it out.